A neo-gambeson (also known as a gambeson in the modern vernacular) is a form of cloth body armor manufactured out of a desire for cheap protection manufactured from renewable, widely available materials. Neo-gambesons are a revamp of a medieval concept for use on the modern battlefield, being comprised of many layers of tightly-interwoven, specially-treated fabrics in lieu of solid armor. A typical neo-gambeson suit includes a long jacket and a pair of overalls, and is typically worn with sturdy boots and a helmet. Pricier versions of the neo-gambeson include pockets for metal trauma plates or integrated electrical grounding, with flak vests being a notable technological descendant of these versions. Neo-gambesons have the benefit of being affordable, easy to repair, silent, lightweight, and insulating; drawbacks include being relatively soft compared to plates, poor against gaseous or liquid threats, and insulating. One major benefit of a neo-gambeson over heavier armors (such as auto-armor) is that, as a relatively non-bulky outfit, a neo-gambeson can accept a wide variety of accessories, such as helmets, gas masks, improved boots, additional armor layers, and harnesses for various tools and other equipment.
The raw materials which will eventually become neo-gambesons are woven into bolts of fabric and soaked in chemical baths to improve their durability. The fabrics are then layered and sewn tightly together to form protective clothing, which may subsequently undergo further chemical treatments to apply other desirable properties (such as waterproofing). Grounding meshes, plate carriers, ammunition pouches, tool pockets and loops, and other features may be incorporated into the finished product before final chemical treatments are applied.
Neo-gambesons in the employ of internal forces from Voxelia, Craterhold, or the Navigator's Guild may feature vibrant colors and elaborate decoration as a form of loyalist expression. Otherwise, most neo-gambesons feature drab or camouflage colors, with limited insignia to help distinguish between opposing forces in close quarters. Soldiers often employ national or regional variations on the classic neo-gambeson ensemble. For example, High Rostran neo-gambeson boots often include fully-enclosing ironwood clogs in lieu of the usual hard leather or galvanized rubber lower portion, as leather and rubber goods are less common in the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy. Neo-gambesons are sometimes employed in civilian contexts, with surplus suits seeing use as hunting gear or cold weather protection.
Neo-gambesons are the sine non qua of basic infantry units throughout the Manfold, though Rostran and Ovinex forces employ them even more than most due to the ready availability of wool. Police forces sometimes employ neo-gambesons as protection in particularly rough neighborhoods or when dealing with armed suspects.
Raw materials & Components
Depending on the region of origin, neo-gambesons are constructed from various forms of natural fibers. Wool (of both Ovinex and more traditional origins), linen, and silk are all common choices. Chemical treatments include rubbers, polymers, bonding agents , waterproofing, pigments, and various hardening agents (i.e. brine), depending on the technological prowess of the manufacturer.